Spain, Italy want EU summit to act on banking union

Madrid, May 6 (EFE).- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his Italian counterpart, Enrico Letta, agreed here Monday to ask that next month's European Union summit make final decisions on the eurozone's banking union and how to deal with youth unemployment.

At a press conference after their meeting in Madrid, the two leaders said that they will work to bring joint proposals in both areas to the gathering.

"Let them (implement) the decisions (adopted in 2012) as soon as possible," said Rajoy, while Letta warned that a failure of the June summit would help foster anti-European movements.

It has been almost a year since the EU heads of state and government made "momentous decisions," said the Spanish premier, and he called for those decisions to be implemented "without delay" and emphasized that the banking, fiscal and political union "must move forward more quickly."

He emphasized that the EU member nations must continue advancing on European integration and added that if there had been a banking union in the eurozone, the problem of Cyprus with its consequences for savers - many of whom lost much of their savings - "would not have occurred."

"We need a more solid banking system" with lower interest rates for small and medium-sized firms, said Letta, who also insisted on the need for national and European initiatives to increase youth employment.

Rajoy and Letta denied that this demand regarding the banking union implies a "battle" against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

When asked about Germany's insistence on opposing the banking union and in calling for more sacrifices, austerity and spending cuts from the Southern Europeans, both Rajoy and Letta denied that there is any confrontation with Berlin.